Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Proposes Path to Citizenship for 1.8 Million; Trump Pitches America First But Not America Alone in Davos; Grammys Returns to New York After 15 Years; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 26, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:31:13] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The White House has laid out its immigration plan, what it wants to see happen. The big takeaways, the president says 1.8 million people, Dreamers, would get a path to citizenship. That's big. Would be an exchange for a number of other things, including $25 billion for the border wall and security infrastructure, a likely red line for some Democrats, though, is the elimination of a lot of this family migration, or what Republicans some call chain migration, also an end to the visa lottery, how is this going to go?

Phil Mattingly on the Hill with more.

So, look, I mean, this is a big deal in terms of Dreamers and a path to citizenship from the White House. I just wonder is this the final time word from the White House on this? Because they flip-flop back and forth a lot.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is true. This is true. Look, to put it plainly, if this is the final word from the White House, then there's a problem in terms of finding a resolution to the DACA issue. And it's not just Democrats. It's a lot of Republicans as well.

And it's worth pointing out, Poppy, as you did, the White House has shifted plenty on this. They have gone from one position to another position, but what this does, what this framework is, is really kind of their most firm stance up to this point. I think a good way to look at it is the Senate is going to work its will on what they're doing. The House is going to work as well in what they're doing. And they will use this to inform that.

The big issue the White House has right now is internally, in their own party. You have Republicans, Poppy, who came out yesterday, the most conservative particularly in the House, some who were just outraged by this idea. Most notably the 1.8 million individuals who would be subject to a pathway to citizenship. The details of it, 10 to 12 years.

Why they're angry is twofold. First and foremost, they prefer legal status on a renewable basis like re-entering your periods. But also if you're going to allow a pathway to citizenship, they wanted it to be defined to just those who had DACA protections currently. That's about 690,000 people. What the White House is doing is opening it to those who haven't -- who were DACA eligible but hadn't submitted yet.

So Republicans are very angry about that on the conservatives in the House side. You also have Republicans that are aligned. I think that's important, too. Senators Tom Cotton, James Lankford, David Perdue, Chuck Grassley, this is an important group of hard-line immigration hawks in the Senate. They support this proposal.

So it's not exactly homogenous right now, Poppy. But I think the bottom line here is you have conservative Republicans and hard-line immigration outside groups who are very concerned about the pathway to citizenship and if you don't have Republicans on your side, particularly when you need a bipartisan group and 60 in the Senate, you have potential problems.

HARLOW: I was fascinated reading, especially Senator Cotton's response to this, because he and Senator Perdue were the ones that the White House brought into that meeting a few weeks ago with Graham and Durbin to basically be the hard-liners on this and they are saying, I like this, despite that path to citizenship for 1.8 million of these folks.

What -- I mean, Phil, what's the biggest concession the Democrats are going to have to make if they're going to agree to this deal? Because there are things in this that the White House this morning is saying are non-negotiables.

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, I think the most interesting is everybody has been focused on pathway to citizenship and the wall. That's not the issue right now for Democrats. And I think this is why you see Senators Perdue and Cotton, people who've been working very closely with the White House on this plan, supportive of what they see. And it's because of what's deeper in there. The interior enforcement. As you know, the family-based migration, the changes in that to the nuclear family, really limiting what that actually does there. The basic end to the diversity lottery visa program.

Those are things that Republicans know would really dramatically shift the way U.S. immigration -- U.S. legal immigration system works. That's something Republicans like Senator Tom Cotton and Senator David Perdue support. That is things -- those are two issues, Poppy, that when I talk to Democrats now they say are simply nonstarters.

Now there are versions of that in the bipartisan Durbin-Graham bill to a much smaller scale. Even that was raising concern on the left. So I think you -- the key here is what Democrats are saying is we want pathway to citizenship, that's a red line for us. They are willing to give on the wall. How much money? That's still subject for debate. But when you go deeper into the White House proposal, when you talk about family migration, when you talk about diversity lottery, that's where you run into real problems with Democrats.

[10:35:07] Right now they're willing to give a little bit. Not nearly as much as the White House has asked for at this point. Not nearly as much as Senator Cotton and Senator Perdue have asked for. And as long as those issues remain where they're so far apart, it is a real open question right now how you actually get to 60 votes in the Senate or 70 or 75 and Senator Lindsey Graham says he wants, and more importantly how you move anything in the House on a bipartisan basis.

So I think that's where the questions lie now.


MATTINGLY: That's what needs to be kind of sassed out in the days ahead.

HARLOW: It's a great point even if you get it to the Senate. What on earth happens when this thing reaches the House.

Phil Mattingly, thank you. Have a good weekend.

So President Trump just played salesman-in-chief, telling some of the biggest business leaders in the world why they should invest in America. Did they like what they heard from this president? Next.


HARLOW: All right. Right now President Trump is heading home after taking you can call it an economic victory lap in Davos, Switzerland. The president told world leaders and CEOs America is, quote, "open for business." He also said this.


[10:45:09] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America First does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world.


HARLOW: Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is with me.

You know, the second part of that, America First does not mean America alone, we need you other countries.


HARLOW: We need you. That's not something you heard from this president on the campaign trail. And it was just the American --

ROMANS: A lot of people are saying this is the Goldman Sachs-Gary Cohn speech, not the Stephen Miller speech. This was a little bit of a nod to the global community, saying, look, when America is doing well, and the president said, by the way, we're doing really well, that's good for the rest of the world, too.

He also -- in that speech, I thought it was interesting, he talked about those TPP countries. Remember the president famously pulled out.

HARLOW: Right. ROMANS: He said hey, we'd be willing to talk to these countries

separately or even together about a trade deal. And that was something that the people at that Davos meeting really liked to see. It signals the president maybe is not going to be a trade war president but he's going to try to be more of a -- more conciliatory on that front.

HARLOW: Looking at some of the numbers, just fact checking them for us, U.S. has added seven trillion in wealth since he was elected.


HARLOW: 2.4 million jobs added.


HARLOW: True. Biggest most significant tax reform in American history.

ROMANS: I wouldn't say it's the biggest most significant tax reform. I would say it's the biggest since the Reagan administration. No question. But when you talk to these companies, they love those tax cuts.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: And I would say this. A lot of economic numbers there that he was throwing around, and they were true. I mean, the economy is doing well, the stock market is really doing well. And there is something to be said for President Trump, what his critics don't like about him is his big mouth. And his big mouth is cheerleading the stock market in the American economy and it's sort of resonating even with blue-collar workers who feel like, hey --

HARLOW: Totally.

ROMANS: We are number one. Hey, look, we're number one.

HARLOW: Even if they don't have money in the market, so many of them have told me and have told you, they feel like it trickles down to them.


HARLOW: But one thing that I do want you to weigh in is the president also couldn't resist bringing up his opponent in the election.

ROMANS: I know. I know.

HARLOW: Hillary Clinton.

ROMANS: Still back in the election.

HARLOW: And here's what he said would have happened at the stock market had his opponent had won.


TRUMP: Had the opposing party to me won, some of whom you backed, some of the people in the room, instead of being up almost 50 percent, the stock market is up since my election almost 50 percent. Rather than that, I believe the stock market from that level, the initial level, would have been down close to 50 percent. That's where we were headed. I really believe that.


HARLOW: I can't ask you to fact check it because no one knows.

ROMANS: It's unknown. But I will say, you know what, I heard -- when I heard him say that, I heard a guy who still is ticked off that so many so-called experts said the whole market would fall apart and there'd be a global recession if you were president and they --


HARLOW: And he's right. They said that and they were just wrong.

ROMANS: They were wrong. It's as if a light switch. We have been saying this really since the American carnage speech a year ago until today which was really a cheerleader speech, America First speech, it's as if a light switch went off, and after -- nine years after a terrible recession, it went from crisis to now expansion, people believe it. Enough time has passed and there is a new leader and people believe it.

I can remember during the Obama administration, sometimes there'd be good numbers, good economic numbers and I always wondered why they didn't, you know, take more of a victory lap for those. They were always too concerned that they would look like they were tone deaf to people who've been left behind.


ROMANS: Now you have a new leader and he's taking credit for the economy right now. This is now the Trump economy.

HARLOW: It is. Absolutely. One year in.

Christine Romans, thank you. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Let's talk more about what the president said on the global stage. With me is CNN military and diplomatic analyst, Rear Admiral John Kirby.

So listening to the president this morning, aside from all the economic touts that we just went through with Christine Romans, what stood out to you the most?

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: What stood out to me was that it was a typical Trumpian speech. I think there was nothing -- a surprise there. But I don't think it's going to have much impact. Those who were willing to invest in the United States because of the great economic numbers were still going to do it with or without the speech. I mean, it was -- he went over there to brag, to take as you called it an economic victory lap.

But I think he missed some opportunities here. The whole idea of the World Economic Forum is to talk about immigration of economy and global cooperation, cooperative efforts, and he didn't really get there. In the security part of the speech, he talked a little bit about building partnerships, but he wasn't -- wasn't any meat there to it.

And then on immigration, he had a very small, I think, almost meaning outlook. You know, that we're only going to take people who can support us and who can succeed when the whole idea of American immigration at least in my view is that we're going to take people to help them succeed, not to bring them to help us succeed.

HARLOW: Let's play part of what he said in terms of what you bring up, sort of security, et cetera. Play it.


TRUMP: We cannot have prosperity without security.

[10:45:03] To make the world safer from rogue regimes, terrorism and revisionist powers, we are asking our friends and allies to invest in their own defenses and to meet their financial obligations. Our common security requires everyone to contribute their fair share.


HARLOW: I mean, pretty clear he's talking to NATO members there saying, pay up, pay up. A message that's been consistent from this president.

KIRBY: Yes, I know, he's been beating them up for a long time about this. And look, he's not all wrong. I think, you know, fair burden sharing is something that we should be concerned about. And this is also, Poppy, not a new idea.

President Obama and Secretary Gates under President Obama, said the same thing time and time again. I think it's a fair argument. That said, he has a fundamental misunderstanding of how NATO funding works, it's about them increasing their defense spending, not paying into NATO coffers. And number two, I think he misses the opportunity to note that our investment in other nations' security apparatus, our building their defensive capabilities, actually helps secure our interests.

Our involvement in helping them get better and building partner capacity actually helps protect the United States. So I think he misses -- and it's ironic, because so much of his speech was selfish. So much of it was about the self-interests of the United States and I think he misses the idea that when we contribute to defense spending, our defense spending to help others' capabilities were actually improving our own security here at home.

HARLOW: Really important point.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, thank you. We appreciate it.

KIRBY: Thank you. You bet.

HARLOW: The Me Too Movement is set to have its moment, its night at the Grammys this weekend. We have a preview of music's biggest night next.


[10:51:11] HARLOW: This Sunday, the Grammys return to New York for the first time in 15 years. Think about this, the last time the Grammys were here in New York, Norah Jones and Nickelback dominated the music charts. Remember that, youngsters?

CNN entertain reporter Chloe Melas gives us a preview.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York, the city Jay-Z famously paid homage to now hosting the Grammys for the first time in 15 years. It is fitting the rapper also happens to lead the pack in Grammy nominations.

He's up for eight, including Album of the Year.

Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars come in second and third as the most nominated artists.

Both are slated to perform at the show, which will be hosted again by late-night's James Corden.

JAMES CORDEN, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Let's get on with the show.

MELAS: But music's biggest night comes at a complicated moment for the entertainment industry. A sexual harassment reckoning, that spawned the Me Too Movement has dominated awards shows. Expect to see white roses on the Grammy red carpet and a message of female empowerment.

SHANON COOK, SPOTIFY TRENDS EXPERT: There is some very strong self- aware female musicians who are going to be taking the Grammy stage. You've got Kesha, you've got Lady Gaga, you've got Pink, Lorde, Miley Cyrus. I think we're going to see some really strong wonderful moments.

MELAS (on camera): Musicians tend to be a more unbuttoned, unpredictable crowd. But here at Madison Square Garden there is a sense that anything can happen on Grammy night. And that probably includes some jabs at President Trump.

COOK: Historically the Grammys hasn't been as politically charged as other awards shows. But given that we're just a little over a year past the election, and the mood in this country is very fired up and still very divided, I would be very surprised if no artist spoke about politics at all at the Grammys this year.

MELAS (voice-over): The topic of race may also come up, especially in light of President Trump's controversial comments about African countries. Either way, the Grammys are already sending a strong message of diversity. This year, the seven most nominated artists are all fitting. This year, "Despacito," the Latin crossover sensation, could make history.

It could become the first Spanish language song ever to win Song of the Year.

Chloe Melas, CNN, New York.


HARLOW: Chloe will be there on Sunday night. We're looking forward to it.

All right. Ahead for us, President Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Bob Mueller. That's what a source tells CNN. Multiple news reports -- news outlets reporting this. We have much more and the significance ahead.


[10:58:29] HARLOW: So the U.S. Olympic Committee has asked all members of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors to resign following the sentencing of former team doctor Larry Nassar this week. In a letter, the Olympic Committee CEO said the gymnastics group will lose its status as a governing body if the entire board does not resign within six days. He also said they must cooperate with an independent investigation.

Three top board members have already resigned this week on Wednesday. As you know, Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 160 young women.

Meantime this morning, Kentucky's Marshall High School reopened just days after a 15-year-old student went on a shooting rampage there, killing two students, injuring more than a dozen others this week.

The mother of Bailey Holt who was murdered in that rampage says her daughter called her while she was dying.


SECRET HOLT, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I wanted to pay for everything he's done. Pray for him. I know he's probably having a hard time, too, but --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He still took our baby.

HOLT: And he still took my baby from me.


HARLOW: Unimaginable pain. We are thinking about her, that family, that entire community as those students return to school today.

Thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow. Have a great weekend. "AT THIS HOUR" starts right now.